Tapestry weaves fond memories

FORMER schoolchildren and their families have been coming forward with their memories of creating a part of North Devon’s history.

Since the Gazette revealed last week that a tapestry, completed by Appledore Primary School pupils in 1987, was to be displayed in Bideford Library, we’ve had an amazing response from those who helped make it.

Former pupil Kelly Turner helped make the tapestry but also has a family connection with the piece of art.

Kelly said: “I was around ten years old when I was involved in making the tapestry and my grandmother, Doris Turner, taught us all how to make it.”

Doris, who has been creating tapestries for as long as she can remember, said: “It was so lovely to see all the children so excited, and it was such a big project.

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“At one point they ran out of wool, and one of the teachers had to go on BBC Radio Devon to appeal for more.”

Liz Lawrence, a teaching assistant at the school, said: “It was wonderful to see all the children in the corridor, coming out in small groups to have their turn at adding stitches to the piece.

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“We took the children on a boat trip down the river for them to sketch the surroundings, which was a big thing at the time and they were all hugely excited.”

Boo Boyne helped her son’s class transfer the children’s drawings on to the tapestry and remembers one of the sketches in particular.

“It was of a workman sitting with his feet up, and the company building the bridge weren’t too happy about that one.

“But it was such a huge community effort and there were loads of local people who came to help with the stitching of the tapestry.”

Joanna Carter, a teacher at the primary school when the project was taking place, said: “It soon became so popular that there were children (and staff) working on it during play-times and dinner times too, as well as after school each evening.

“Every evening, weekend and holiday the tapestry went home with a child, or occasionally a member of staff, so it was worked on by whole families.”

Bideford Library will be unveiling the tapestry on May 5 and is hoping to gather as many people who were involved in its creation as possible for the opening.

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